Maybe you’ve been dreaming of becoming a first-time mom for years on end, or maybe this pregnancy was a bit of a surprise. You might have plenty of support from your family and friends- or maybe you feel alone. And you’ve likely been reading books and blogs and talking to other moms to help you prepare for this new stage in your life.
No matter what your journey to motherhood looked like, or what your day-to-day life is like now that you have a little baby, there is one thing that holds true- motherhood is a challenge! It’s ok to feel like you don’t have it all together. None of us really do. We all learn from our mistakes, and even from each other! Here are 10 tips that we have found to be very encouraging to new moms:
- “By the book” isn’t for everyone. You may have read many parenting books or heard from others that the only way to have your baby sleep through the night, is by doing x, y and z. Sure, certain systems will work for some babies- but not everyone. Don’t stress yourself out because things aren’t going exactly how everybody else is telling you they should be going. You’re doing the best you can, and that’s what is important. Find what works for you and your baby and do that. If you have any concerns about your baby’s health or behaviors, bring them to your pediatrician or family doctor.
- Cherish every moment because it really does go by fast. You’re in the stage where a day can feel like a year, but when that first year goes by, you’ll find yourself wondering where all of the time went! Sure, everyone has a bad day here and there. Teething is hard, fussy babies can be frustrating, and sleepless nights are exhausting. Even in the midst of those hard times, try to find something good to hold onto. One day, you will look back and truly miss the moments that you are living right now.
- Don’t compare your child and your style of mothering to others. Every child is uniquely made with different personalities and different needs. In the same way, you were made with different giftings. It’s helpful to have a friend or a family member to talk to about the joys and challenges of motherhood, and to learn and grow with each other. If you don’t have anyone in your close circle to talk to, contact us today and we’d be happy to begin walking alongside you in this journey!
- A fed baby is the best baby- no matter what that looks like for you! Some people might tell you that breastfeeding is best, but the truth is that breastfeeding can truly be a challenge for some women. There shouldn’t be any shame in deciding to formula feed your baby. No matter what you decide, you can feel confident in knowing that you are feeding your baby in the way that works best for the two of you. If you are bottle feeding and find yourself struggling to find formula, please contact us today and ask about our free formula offering.
- When a parent responds consistently and lovingly to their baby’s cries, he/she learns that they are loved and that you are there for them. It’s important for you to bond with your baby, and you can do that by holding your baby and meeting his or her needs. You are not creating bad habits, especially in the early days. You are simply assuring your baby that they are loved, and that they are safe when they are with you.
- What you say is not as important as how you say it. Your tone matters. When we speak in a kind way to our children, they are much more likely to actually listen to us. Think about it – If someone yells at you in their own frustration you feel defensive and even a bit fearful. You are much more likely to receive what that person is saying when they speak to you in a gentle voice.
- It’s ok to skip the housework and spend time with your child! Your little one will not remember that your house was always clean, the dishes were always done, or that the laundry was always perfectly folded and put away. What they’ll remember is that you spent quality time with them, and the memories that you made together.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Motherhood can often feel lonely, especially after having your first child. It’s easy to think that you need to do everything on your own, and to even feel like that is your responsibility as a new mom. The saying that “it takes a village” is so true, no matter how many kids you have or what your everyday life looks like. Give your friend a call and ask them to come hold your baby while you take a nap. If someone offers to make you a meal, take them up on the offer! If you are blessed with friends or family that are willing to babysit so that you can simply go to the grocery store alone, don’t turn them down! It’s ok to take a break.
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Listen Mama, if you aren’t happy and healthy- then you won’t be able to properly care for your baby. It is SO easy to become wrapped up in your role as a mother and with all of the needs that your baby has that you completely forget about your own needs. It doesn’t make you a bad mom if you feel like you need some time to yourself.
- Don’t stress about the little things! Not every baby crawls at exactly the same age. Not every baby likes pureed carrots. Not every baby will say “Mama” first. Each baby is different. Even babies that are born within the same family and raised by the same parents are unique in their own ways.
When it comes down to it, YOU are the best Mama for your baby. God purposely placed your baby in your arms, and not somebody else’s. He designed your baby to be YOUR son or daughter, and for you to be his or her Mama. He will equip you to be the best parent for your child, even when it feels hard, and even when it feels like you’re failing. Hang on to that truth and hang in there – you’re doing awesome! If you’d like to learn more about parenting young children, please contact us today and ask about our parenting classes!